It is so easy to love kittens and puppies and fresh cut flowers. It is much more difficult, at least for me, to love that which I use to define who I am not. I remember early childhood games of cowboys and Indians. I always had to play the part of one of the Indians, where thee best thing going was running around making woo-woo sounds with a palm to my mouth. The cowboys always won with their cap guns.
That was one of my first lessons in duality. Cowboys were good; Indians were bad. It didn’t matter that I loved Native American (now referred to as First Nation) culture, their respect for nature, the jewelry, and their dance. I had a pair of moccasins which I wore until I made big holes both underneath and in the toes. I didn’t understand the whole cowboy and Indian fight, and even why they couldn’t just get along and live in separate villages if they needed to do so, and come together to trade or for Thanksgiving celebrations.
I am having to retrain my mind from several decades of self-talk, indoctrination, and culture. It is very easy to judge and say that person is right, or that person is wrong. I stopped watching the mainstream media over three years ago because it was so full of finger pointing. The whole newspaper even from the front page through the sports section were filled with winners and losers, good guys vs. bad guys. I ended up just reading the comics but those too often had themes of duality now and then.
Recently I have been working through my mind the concept of us and them instead of us versus them. We are all in this together. It’s not us versus nature, where a pristine forest is viewed as “undeveloped” and therefore ripe for a new urban sprawl cluster of homes to be planted. Rather, we are in an era of balance and harmony, living with nature and animals and letting them be our teachers. This was something the First Nations people understood.
I’ve never had difficulty loving nature or animals. I am one who loves to walk by myself in the woods, find a rock, and sit there for as long as my bum will tolerate the hard surface. There have been a number of times when I went outside on a clear night and just laid down in the damp grass full of dew and just stared at the stars. It’s difficult for me to think about good guys and bad guys, or those who are right or wrong when I’m laying on my back staring at the stars. That all somehow seems so much less significant when I stare at the vastness of space.
Where I have difficulty is in loving those who hurt little children. My mama bear instinct wants to protect the little ones and lash out at those who would abuse, torture, or do other unmentionable things void of love. I am trying to digest the belief that it is OK to condemn actions, but to love the individual. Everyone is divinely perfect and innocent. It is their actions which are to be judged, but not the individual.
I found the only way I can move into the space to love these individuals is to see them as little children inside of adult bodies, broken, scared, and feeling powerless. I then look with my mind for a tiny spark of God’s love within them, which for many of them is a very tiny spark, delicate and almost to the point of being snuffed out with little more than a tiny breath. When I set aside their actions and focus on the spark of God within them, inside their small child bodies, I can very slowly shift to love the person. I have to admit that this is difficult and I need to practice this often because as I said at the beginnin of this post, I have had decades to practice duality.